Top Scams, Hacks, and Attacks that Happen with Exposed Phone Numbers
Your mobile number may be even more vulnerable than your other personal data. Hackers can use your phone number for spoofing, texting scams, data mining, and rerouting calls.
Here are the dangers associated with losing the number:
- Data mining
- Rerouting your number
- Texting scams
We want a world without crime, but we know that’s almost impossible. Crime has historically included property invasions, carjacking, organized crime, petty theft, rape, and murder, among others. These crimes are still rampant today, and newer crimes have also come along with the rise of technology. These days there are crimes such as phishing, malware, IoT hacking, website spoofing, and even the distribution of child pornography.
One of the most common digital crimes is identity fraud – the use of another person’s information to commit a crime without their knowledge and authorization. Most fraudsters use the personal information from a hacked account to open other, illegal accounts. Hackers can get your personal information in various ways, including installing spyware and sending spam messages that you click on in your email.
One of the primary things you want to protect from hackers is your phone number, as there is a great deal a hacker can do with just your number. A common, easy way for cybercriminals to get your phone number is when you visit untrustworthy sites and enter your phone number for verification. You can avoid this from happening using a virtual phone number when entering your details online.
This article explores the dangers of exposing your phone number, what to do if a scammer has your phone number, and how you can protect your personal phone number.
What Can Someone Do with Your Phone Number?
Can your phone number get hacked? The quick-and-dirty answer is yes. Hackers can easily cause serious problems in your life simply by having access to your phone number, so you should always think twice before sharing your number online. Here are just a few of the things that can happen if your number is hacked.
One of the easiest ways scammers can use your phone number is by typing it on people-search sites such as WhoEasy and Fast People Search. Such sites buy personal information about people and sell it to hackers and others who, for whatever reason, may want to know more about you. Your phone number could help someone get your personal information such as criminal record, family members, addresses, and bankruptcies. The hacker can then use the information to blackmail you, stalk you, or steal your identity.
Rerouting Your Number
Another strategy hackers use to steal your phone number is to call or visit the customer service department of your mobile carrier while pretending to be you. After that, the hacker will make it so that your phone number rings on their phone instead of yours. The hacker will then log into your email account using that information.
The hacker doesn’t know your password, but they don’t need to. They simply click “Forgot Password” and a link to change the password will be emailed to their phone. It is simple for a hacker to break into any of your other accounts once they have obtained access to your Gmail account.
The hacker who has your phone number may even be able to obtain enough information about you that they can get past the security questions, even though many network operators have security safeguards to prevent fraudsters from switching phones.
YouMail reports that there were approximately 26 billion scam calls in 2019 and that con artists are only growing more sophisticated. Spoofing is a newer method fraudsters are using to scam people. Spoofing occurs when an unauthorized caller causes your phone number to appear on a caller ID even though the call is actually coming from someone else.
A con artist may use a fake version of the phone number of someone you know in an attempt to trick you into answering the call. Scammers have a better chance of getting whatever information they want from you, including your credit card details, when they can trick you into answering your phone by using a familiar number.
Faking a phone number requires little effort. Scammers may now quickly and easily place calls by entering a phone number into a website or app, and they are more likely to use this method because it is so simple and efficient.
Scammers may also use your mobile number to send text messages containing viruses and other malware. This con is known as “smishing.” Smishers use these texts to trick you into clicking on malicious links to infect your phone with malware designed to steal your personal information. They may also use smishing to con you into sending them money under the guise of impersonating a trusted institution such as your bank, the IRS, or your doctor. Hackers will try to get your personal information and financial accounts by posing as reliable sources.
Tips to Protect your Phone Number
We may occasionally find ourselves filling out online forms and social media profiles. We provide a great deal of personal information when we do this, hoping the companies will keep the information safe. We often don’t even think of a phone number as vulnerable information but as we have seen, providing your phone number could lead to serious problems if it falls into the wrong hands. Here are several tips to help you protect your phone number:
- Only provide your phone number if you’re sure the site is trustworthy
- Fix any errant public records
- Wipe your devices before disposing of them
- Set up an identity alert with a monitoring company
- Use an eSIM (embedded SIM card) instead of a removeable SIM card
You could also get a burner phone number to use exclusively for your online visits. A burner or fake phone number is a virtual phone number that can be generated online either using an app or a trustworthy website. You can use a virtual phone number to register in online profiles and receive phone calls related to your online accounts, saving your personal phone number for friends, family, and colleagues. Using the virtual phone number online ensures you don’t expose your actual number, decreasing the risk of being defrauded.
Tardigrada is one of the best resources for virtual numbers. We have provided thousands of virtual numbers over the past few years and we can get you what you need, whether you’re looking for a virtual number for WhatsApp, Twitter, Tinder, or other online apps. Find out what Tardigrada can do for you. Contact us today.